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Why the GRN voters might not swing back to LAB at GE15 even in the marginals

October 30th, 2014

When pressed on constituency question just 10% switch to red

Today’s YouGov of CON 31, LAB 34, LD 6, UKIP 17, GRN 7 highlights the need to analyse what is happening to the GRN vote and what might happen in the key battlegrounds that will decide GE15.

As ever the main source of published data is from Lord Ashcroft. The aggregation of a series of constituency polls means that sub-samples can be large enough to draw conclusions with a reasonable degree of confidence. Also, of course, Lord A is the only one asking the two stage voting question.

The chart above is based on the aggregate data from his October round of LAB-CON battlegrounds polling with the two voting questions. After the standard one those sampled are asked to think specifically about their own constituency and in many cases there is quite a difference. It is the change that can be illuminating.

The big picture on the first question is that getting on for half of current GRN support is coming from people who voted LAB or LD in 2010. But look what happens when the second stage question, that relating to the specific seat is asked.

As can be seen above just under three-quarters of those saying Green to the first question still say they will vote for the party on the second. To me what is interesting is what happens to the rest. Yes LAB does best taking a 10% slice but that’s nothing like as large as the red team might hope. A total of 4% say CON and 6% say LD. UKIP at 2% in included amongst others.

Given rising GRN shares generally I plan to keep a close eye on what is happening and will be returning to this in due case.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble





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Concerns about health and immigration rise as the economy drops to six year low in the Ipsos-MORI issues index

October 29th, 2014



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Alex Salmond fighting a Westminster seat that voted overwhelmingly NO would be a huge gamble

October 29th, 2014

You could see this as an attack line?
You voted NO – now tell him you mean it”?

Salmond in debate (1)

It’s been reported widely that the outgoing SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, is thinking about seeking a Westminster seat to fight at GE15. This would mean a return to the Commons.

The one he’s said to have his eye is Gordon in Aberdeenshire where the sitting Lib Dem MP, Malcolm Bruce, is standing down. Generally the Lib Dems are most vulnerable in such situations.

But would this be the shoo-in for Salmond that it appears. Surprisingly Ladbrokes only rate the SNP’s chances there at 8/13 with the LDs on 5/2.

    The relevant fact about the Gordon constituency is that in the IndyRef Gordon it voted by nearly two to one against independence – hardly good territory, you would think, for the NATs

Life is almost always hard for ex-leaders. They don’t have the pulling power that they enjoyed while in the top job and in his case Salmond is vulnerable because on his watch the referendum went the wrong way. He failed in the biggest project of his political career.

On the face of it Salmond would be better deployed fighting a current LAB seat where the vote was for YES on September 18th.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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After a series of polls showing the main parties level-pegging today’s YouGov has LAB creeping back into the lead

October 29th, 2014

Now a 1% margin is something for the red team to cheer

For whatever reason things have not been going well for LAB in the polls over the past week. Only the Populus online poll on Monday showed a lead while Opinium, Ashcroft, ComRes and three successive YouGovs had LAB and CON level-pegging.

Of course edging up to a 1% lead, as today, is statistically irrelevant – but this is not about statistics but party morale and pressure, perhaps, on the leadership.

When things haven’t been going well then any sign that the worst might just be over is to be welcomed and no doubt EdM’s tightly knit team will be breathing a sigh of relief.

    There’s little doubt that what started the erosion of Labour’s position was Ed Miliband’s lacklustre conference speech in September. The leader’s performance at his final conference before a general election is crucial and Miliband blew it.

Today Ed faces Dave once again at PMQs. He’s got a great issue – the reports that Britain will not support future efforts to prevent migrants and refugees drowning in the Med.

This is precisely the sort of of thing that should play well with his side and the key swing voting group of LD to LAB switchers. He needs to exploit it well.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Predict Thursday’s South Yorkshire PCC by-election and win the political book that everybody’s talking about

October 28th, 2014

Which party will win and what’ll be the winning percentage margin?

Last night I attended a splendid book launch for the book by the academic duo of Phil Cowley and Rob Rord featured above. Extracts have received a fair bit of coverage in the past couple of days particularly on the sexual traits of different party supporters.

The book is a compendium if fascinating political tales aimed, I’d suggest, at the political geek audience, I was given a few copies for PB competition prizes and our first will be on Thursday’s S Yorks PCC by election.

Just to note that like all PB competitions my rulings are absolute.

Entries on the thread after 2359 tonight will not be valid. Entries can be with up to two decimal points.

Good luck.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Why CON could still be losing seats to LAB even if it manages to get a 6% lead

October 28th, 2014

The first target for the blues – to be doing better than last time

At GE2010 the Conservatives had a GB national vote share of 37% which was 7.3% bigger than Labour’s total of 29.7%.

So under a uniform national swing CON needs to be ahead by that margin simply to stop losing seats to LAB. That is the starting point for the party at GE15 – to do at least as well as they did last time.

    Thus it cannot be assumed that CON lead of 6% is sufficient for them to hang onto all they hold at the moment from LAB.

This all assumes a uniform swing and, of course, the whole political environment is very different with the rise of UKIP. But in terms of the impact on seats it is the gap between LAB and CON that historically has been the best measure. This at GE10 CON moved from being 3% behind LAB to 7.3% ahead.

Note that all the main national polls shares are on a GB basis rather than an all-UK one. For this purpose the Northern Ireland seats are left to one side. Thus it is the GB shares from 2010 that we work from. CON 37, LAB 29.7, LD 23.6.

Of course the Tories have hopes of taking LD seats but here there’s a huge challenge. As is widely known the yellows have a record of outperforming national swing in the seats that they hold, particularly where the existing MP is standing for re-election.

This is being shown again for GE15 in the Lord Ashcroft CON-LD marginals polling. Although on national numbers there’s a huge gap between blue and yellow Lord A’s latest constituency based findings have a LD to CON swing of just 2%. This would curtail many of the expected gains from current margins in national polls.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Tonight’s ComRes phone poll for the Indy sees LAB drop 5 and UKIP up 4

October 27th, 2014

4 out of the five last polls have been level-pegging

It’s been a big polling day with three surveys already all of them pointing to the fact that the race has got very tight.

Just published is the ComRes phone poll for the Indy which has CON 30+1, LAB 30-5, LD 9-1, UKIP 19+4, GRN 4=

The UKIP figure is a high for ComRes phone polls and the 30% LAB share equals what the party was on at the last general election.

    Polls that are level pegging represent a 3.5% CON-LAB swing and mean, if applied on a uniform swing basis, that the party would lose seats. The Tories need a margin of 6% to ensure that they stop losing seats to LAB

The Tory hope is that they’d make up some of their losses with gains from Lib Dems but yellow strong incumbency will make that harder than it seems.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Neil Findlay – Henry G Manson’s tip for next Scottish LAB lead

October 27th, 2014

Look beyond Westminster for likely contenders

So far the bookmakers appear to have worked on the assumption that it was there for the taking for the so-called Westminster ‘big beasts’ of Gordon Brown and Jim Murphy with Anas Sarwar the Scottish Labour Deputy the main MSP contender. However with both Brown and Sarwar now ruling themselves out, the field opens considerably.

There’s no certainty that Jim Murphy will stand although he will be sorely tempted given that he is unlikely to prosper under an Ed Miliband-led Labour government (should there be one). However the nature of Johann Lamont’s resignation means that there will be appetite for the next leader to be seen as more independent of the Westminster Labour operation. Given Murphy does not have a seat in the Scottish Parliament this makes things messy though not impossible. All this creates an opening for the likely trade union candidate Neil Findlay.

One of the main developments in the Scottish Labour leadership race is the confirmation that the electoral college will be retained for this election. We’re in the period before the new all member voting as recommended by Ray Collins can be implemented:

‘Mr Sarwar also confirmed that the new leader would be selected under the existing electoral college system which gives equal weighting to three distinct groups – elected politicians, unions and party members.’

This is all very good news for Neil Findlay the likely trade union candidate and Shadow Cabinet Member for Health. He wouldn’t be favourite to beat Jim Murphy, but he’d certainly have a chance. He’s 5/2 with Ladbrokes but a whopping 16/1 with William Hills and 14/1 with Skybet. They simply haven’t caught up with events and these represent great value.

Left-wing author Owen Jones who has close connections with the unions wrote:

Step forward, then, Neil Findlay, the party’s health spokesman. He is little-known now, but that may be about to change. “Anyone who thinks that we can take on the SNP from any other position than firmly to their left needs to re-enter this world from cloud cuckoo land,” he wrote last week. He calls for a national house-building programme, including council housing, desperately needed in Scotland, which has about 180,000 families trapped on waiting lists; a policy of full employment; the living wage and rights for struggling workers treated as commodities to be hired and fired; an industrial policy to support the industries of the future; and a new generation of apprenticeships and college places. Under Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP will present a more radical prospectus than that offered by Alex Salmond: Findlay offers the possibility of a charismatic, inspiring alternative. The SNP should fear him.’

Should he stand (which looks very likely) then Neil Findlay should be around the 7/2 or 4/1 mark.

Henry G Manson